Mountain Man

In 1981, when I was in high school, my graphic arts teacher took us on a photography field trip. We travelled up the mountain (Chestnut Ridge) to visit a reenactment encampment of “mountain men”. It was an interesting afternoon for photography, as there were plenty of characters to visit with, black powder rifle demonstrations and some music played on dulcimers. This was a real Appalachian experience that took you back to earlier times in our mountains.

This exercise included loading our own black and white film in the 35mm cartridges, taking our photographs, developing the film and making our own prints. No SD cards, no computers, and no software. We owned the entire creative process from start to finish. Of course, I loved every minute of this.

Many of the mountain man reenactors turned out to have day jobs as doctors, lawyers, etc… It was clear they enjoyed spending their time together (maybe too much), and they did a great job showing us how difficult life was for the early settlers.

40 years later, I still miss my graphics art instructor, Lowell Newman. I probably always will. Mr. Newman loved the outdoors, camping and hunting. Taking his students to photograph this display was his way of getting us outside and having us experience something entirely different. The outdoors was where he felt most comfortable.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddam mountain.” – Jack Kerouac

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